Combination of technologies making CIOs more future-orientated

22nd July 2016 By: Schalk Burger - Creamer Media Senior Contributing Editor

While the requirement to derive value from a combination of information technology (IT) projects is changing the role of CIOs, the new technologies are also compelling CIOs to be aware of broader technology trends and their potential value for the company.

CIOs will have to manage all projects in concert with an overarching strategy and approach to digitisation, which will require a broad range of skills to understand the business requirements underpinning various IT projects, says communication services multinational BT Global Services Asia, Middle East, Africa & Turkey chief architect Matthew Allcoat.

“Their new roles require CIOs to demonstrate to the boards the value of IT projects across all business divisions and to leverage the information that is generated from the improved insight to improve management and performance of all parts of the business.”

Understanding the underlying reasons and business drivers of IT projects, regardless of division or process, will enable a CIO to identify how various systems and improvements can be applied or improved.

Some of the routine duties and processes can be done by new technologies or through new use channels, such as cloud services. Their use provides a CIO with greater freedom to focus on the company’s digitisation and its role in its strategy.

Successful IT projects in the mining and resources industry that rapidly reduce costs serve as examples of how CIOs can be required to apply and effectively manage IT systems to produce the desired control and results within operational constraints.

CIOs will increasingly have to manage operational and technical projects in production environments, which are often very different from the usual corporate IT projects, and will have to fit within various rigid safety and control systems.

“Also, awareness of technologies and systems and a good understanding of how they are applied are required, so that the CIO will know how to manage, for example, nuances of a cloud convergence project at the company’s mining sites,” he says.

Allcoat encourages CIOs to look at various lines of business and operational units to determine how they produce value and execute their functions, and how IT systems can enhance them.

This means that CIOs must not manage small individual projects, but must take a practical approach to innovation by gathering data that enable managers and executives to identify further areas of inefficiencies or high costs.

“Analytical systems are necessary to provide the intelligence required for daily operations and strategic oversight and control. “The mining industry projects we were involved in in Australia and South Africa produced benefits by converging data systems to homogenise costs and rationalise systems, and then analysing and making information available in real time to empower operations and management.”

An additional consequence of the changing role of CIOs is that they will also have to implement board-directed projects and provide an effective integrated solution to achieve the objectives, concludes Allcoat.